The common carder bumblebee thrives in gardens, woodland and even heathlands. These fuzzy, ginger-brown bees are highly social, readily nesting in things like abandoned bird boxes, amongst hundreds of other bees. They get their common names from their tendency to weave nest bedding from moss, grass and plant fibres. These bees will work hard all summer, producing more workers to serve the queen and her brood. Come autumn, the current queen and her workers die, but the next generation of queens and males emerge to mate. Following a successful mating, the new queens find the perfect spot to hibernate. They reappear the following spring, and the cycle starts again!
These bees are important pollinators for the garden from as early as March.
Adults: Females possess a crimson-red thorax. The collar hair is a darker red in comparison to the abdominal hairs, which appear as black and yellow stripes. These bees show resemblance to the moss carder bee (concentrated in the north) and the brown-banded carder bee (concentrated in the south), however, these are much more scarce in numbers. Tip: the common carder has some black abdominal hairs, sometimes forming thin black/ginger banding. Although, this is less obvious in some individual common carders.
These bees are found throughout Europe.
It's not suggested to treat gardens for bees. Help bees by planting pollinator-friendly flowers, provide bee-friendly habitats or cut down your use of harmful chemicals (or cut them out completely!).
Bees are extremely sensitive to pesticides and herbicides. It's not advised to treat flowering plants or to spray near the latter because the bees can be affected even if they weren't intended to be.
Attracts this pest
These bees will forage and pollinate flowers that bloom as early as March. They have extra long tongues, so will exploit the nectar stores of tubed flowers.